Invest in Thailand for Foreigners

Here is the general information for foreigners to get familiar with Thailand's Investment Incentives. 

Business Registation 

Visa and Work Permit

Factory License

Open a Bank account

Cost of doing business

1. Business Registration

There are various Seven type of Business entities that can be registered in Thailand;  (1) Sole Proprietorship, (2) Ordinary Partnership, (3) Limited Partnership, (4) Company Limited, (5) Public Company Limited, (6) Branch Office and (7) Representative Office and Operating Headquarter, whereby each of the entities all required the business registration with different process. All information is illustrated down below in the timeline chart.


Anyhow, all the business must check whether the company requires the commercial registration or not. 

All following business must conduct the commercial registration in Bangkok (Office of Finance or District office);

For  Ordinary Partnership Sole Proprietorship  and  Juristic Company  under Thai Laws;

(1) Persons who conduct the rice mill businesses and machine-operated saw factories

(2) Persons who conduct sales businesses of any one kind or several kinds of items with the income of more than 20 THB per day or if such items have total value of 500 THB or above

(3) Broker or agent who conducts the businesses of any one kind or several kinds of products and such products can be sold for more than 20 THB per day

(4) Persons who conduct any one kind or several kinds of handicraft or industrial businesses and can sell the products for more than 20 THB per day or if such items have total value of 500 THB or above in any days

(5) Persons who conduct marine, transportation business via steam launch or motor launch, transportation businesses via rail or tram, transportation via bus, sale by auction, land trading, lending, foreign exchange, note trading, banking, unofficial banking, pawn businesses, and hotel businesses

(6) Sale or Rental of cassette tapes, CD, VDO, DVD or digital VDO for entertainment purposes.

(7) Sale of Jewelry or accessories decorated with jewelry

(8) Trading of goods and services electronically through internet system

(9) Provider of Hosting service for domain server

(10) Provider of Electronic Marketplace service for sales of goods and services via internet

(11) Manufacturing of CD, Cassette Tape, VDO, VCD or DVD for entertainment purposes.

(12) Internet Café Service  

(13) Provider of music-listening and Karaoke Service

(14) Provider of game machines service

(15) Song booth service

(16) Factory for processing, craft, handicraft, retail and wholesale of ivory and products from ivory

For  Registered Partnership Company Limited  and  Public Company Limited ;

(1) Sale or Rental of cassette tapes, CD, VDO, DVD or digital VDO for entertainment purposes.
(2) Sale of Jewelry or accessories decorated with jewelry.

(3) Trading of goods and services electronically through internet system.

(4) Internet provider

(5) Provider of Hosting service for domain server.
(6) Provider of Electronic Marketplace service for sales of goods and services via internet.
(7) Manufacturing of CD, Cassette Tape, VDO, VCD or DVD for entertainment purposes.
(8) Trading of goods and services electronically through internet system
(9) Provider of music-listening and Karaoke Service

(10) Provider of game machine service

(11) Song booth service

(12) Factory for processing, craft, handicraft, retail and wholesale of ivory and products from ivory


2. Visa and Work Permit

The Foreign Working Act of 2008 requires all foreigners working in Thailand to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to starting work in the Kingdom and describes the procedures for issuance and maintenance of work permits and lists certain occupations from which the foreigners may be excluded.

Required Documents;

  • For non-permanent residents: Original of passport containing a Non-Immigrant visa (Validity period not less than six months) (except for WP 3 applications, only a copy of passport showing photo page, name and number).
  • For permanent residents: Original of passport, residence permit and foreigner book (except for WP 3 applications, only a copy of passport showing photo page, name and number).
  • Evidence of applicant’s educational qualifications and letter(s) of recommendation from the former employer, describing in detail the applicant’s past position, duties, performance and place and length of employment. If the documents are in a language other than English, a Thai translation certified as correct by a Thai Embassy (if abroad) or Ministry of Foreign Affairs (if in Thailand) must be attached.
  • A recent medical certificate from a first-class licensed physician in Thailand stating that the applicant is not of unsound mind and not suffering from leprosy, acute tuberculosis, elephantiasis, narcotic addiction, habitual alcoholism or syphilis stage 3 (except for WP 7 applications).
  • Three 5x6 cm. full-faced, bareheaded, black and white or color photographs, taken no more than 6 months prior to the filing of the application.
  • If the application is to be filed by another person, a valid power of attorney in the prescribed form must be attached with a 10 Baht duty stamp.
  • On the application form, the "job description” entry must be completed with a detailed statement as to what job is expected to be performed, how it is related to other people, and what materials will be used in the work (additional paper to be used if necessary).
  • If the job applied for is subject to a license under a particular law, in addition to the Foreign Working Act, a photocopy of such license, (e.g. teacher’s license, physician’s license, press card from the Public Relations Department, certificate of missionary status from the Office of Religious Affairs, etc.) shall be attached.
  • If the applicant is married to a Thai national, the original and photocopies of the following must be presented: Marriage certificate, spouse’s identity card, birth certificates of children, household registration, and photocopy of every page of the applicant’s passport.
  • If the job being applied for is not in Bangkok, the application should be filed at the relevant province’s Department of Employment, or in the absence of such an office, at the province’s city hall.
  • Additional evidence as requested. It may be necessary to translate any or all documents into Thai.                                                          
Foreigners, who seek a prolonged stay, or those coming to work in Thailand, should obtain non-immigrant visas for all family members prior to entering into the Kingdom. This visa has several categories:
  • Diplomatic visa (D) for those employed by an embassy;
  • Business visa (B) for those conducting business in the Kingdom;
  • Mass media visa (M) for accredited business or press representatives;
  • Expert visa (EX) for those performing skilled or expert work;
  • Investor visa (IM) for those who set up their companies under the BOI;
  • Study/education visa (ED) for teachers and those here to study/observe;
  • Official visas (F) for those performing official duties involving the Thai government;
  • Missionary visa (R) for those performing missionary work;
  • Science visa (RS) for those doing scientific research or training, or studying in an educational institution in the Kingdom;
  • Sports visa (S) for those participating in an officially recognized sports event;
  • Dependent visa (O) for those who are here as dependents.

Permitted Activities
The former law, Foreign Working Act of 1978, prohibited the employers from allowing foreigners to perform any function other than that described in the foreigner’s work permit. The employers must report changes in employment, transfers and termination of all foreigners in their organization within 15 days of any such action. In cases of dismissal, the foreigners must return their work permits to labor authorities in Bangkok at the Alien Occupation division or, if they are in a provincial area, to the province’s Department of Employment. Failure to do so will result in a fine of up to 1,000 Baht. However, according to the Foreign Working Act of 2008, the law does not force the employers to return a work permit of their foreign employees, but if the employers or foreign employees wish to return a work permit, the labor authorities will receive a work permit and record the termination date.

Permit holders must obtain prior permission to change their occupation and/or place of work. Change of employer location or the residential address of the permit holder must be properly endorsed in the work permit by the labor authorities. The Foreign Working Act does not prevent a foreigner from engaging in work in more than one field or for more than one employer.

Restricted Occupations
39 occupations and professions that were then prohibited to foreigners. This list has been amended on several occasions by subsequent Royal Decrees, the latest one in 2005;
  1. Labor work;
  2. Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, or fishery, except work requiring  expertise, specialized work, or farm supervision work.
  3. Bricklaying, carpentry or other construction work.
  4. Wood carving
  5. Driving motor vehicles, driving a non-mechanically propelled carrier or driving a mechanically propelled carrier, except for piloting international aircraft.
  6. Shop/Outlet attendance
  7. Auction
  8. Supervising, auditing or providing services in accounting, except internal auditing on occasions.
  9. Cutting or polishing diamond or precious stones
  10. Haircutting, hairdressing or beauty treatment
  11. Cloth weaving by hand
  12. Mat weaving or utensil making from reeds, rattan, hemp, straw or bamboo pellicle
  13. Mulberry paper making by hand
  14. Lacquerware making
  15. Making Thai musical instruments
  16. Nielloware making
  17. Gold ornaments, silverware or pink gold making;
  18. Bronze ware making
  19. Thai doll making
  20. Mattress and quilt blanket making;
  21. Alms bowl making
  22. Hand making of silk products
  23. Buddha image making
  24. Knife making
  25. Paper or cloth umbrella making
  26. Shoemaking
  27. Hat making
  28. Brokerage or agency work, except broker or agency work in international trade;
  29. Civil engineering works concerning design and calculation, organization, research, project planning, testing, construction supervision or advising, excluding work requiring special expertise
  30. Architectural work concerning designing, drawing of plans, cost estimating, construction directing or advising
  31. Dressmaking
  32. Pottery or ceramic ware making;
  33. Cigarette rolling by hand
  34. Tour guide or sightseeing tour operation
  35. Street vending
  36. Typesetting of Thai characters.
  37. Silk reeling and twisting by hand
  38. Clerical and secretarial work
  39. Legal service or lawsuit work


3. Factory License

Application for factory construction (IEAT form 01/1)

IEAT 01 Authorities, document, comments;

  • Applicant/User
  • One Stop Service Center (OSS) of Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT Office)/e-PP (e-Permission & Privilege) system OR - Ministry of Industry (MOI) Provincial Offices (Dept. of Ind. Works) as per applicable "Zone", "Park", "Greenfield" rules if not "IEAT"
  • (3) copies of application submitted
  • 10,000 Baht permit fee (excluding VAT may vary on location)
Supporting documentation required If natural person;
  • (3) copies of house registration, ID card of operator/landowner
If juristic person;
  • (3) copies of company registration certificate and affidavit (dated not over 6 months ago)
Other supporting documents required;
  • (3) copies of documents relating to the production process
  • (3) copies of documents showing measures to manage pollution arising from the operation
  • (3) copies of layout of the land plot according to the master plan
  • (3) copies of shareholders list (dated not over 6 months)
  • A copy of land title or document indicating right to use the land
  • (3) copies of passport of authorized person or ID card and house registration if local

All of the above must be submitted together with the company seal, signatures and/or other authorized documents as required.

Application for factory construction (IEAT form 01/1)

IEAT 01 Authorities, document, comments:

  • Applicant/User
  • One Stop Service Center (OSS) of Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT Office)/e-PP (e-Permission & Privilege) system OR - Ministry of Industry (MOI) Provincial Offices (Dept. of Ind. Works) as per applicable "Zone", "Park", "Greenfield" rules if not "IEAT"
  • (3) copies of application submitted
  • 10,000 Baht permit fee (excluding VAT may vary on location)
Supporting documentation required If natural person;
  • (3) copies of house registration, ID card of operator/landowner
If juristic person;
  • (3) copies of company registration certificate and affidavit (dated not over 6 months ago)
Other supporting documents required;
  • (3) copies of documents relating to the production process
  • (3) copies of documents showing measures to manage pollution arising from the operation
  • (3) copies of layout of the land plot according to the master plan
  • (3) copies of shareholders list (dated not over 6 months)
  • A copy of land title or document indicating right to use the land
  • (3) copies of passport of authorized person or ID card and house registration if local

All of the above must be submitted together with the company seal, signatures and/or other authorized documents as required.

Application for re-notification of commencing factory operation (IEAT for 03/1)

IEAT 03 Authorities, document, comments:

  • Applicant/User
  • One Stop Service Center (OSS) of Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT Office)/e-PP (e-Permission & Privilege) system OR - Ministry of Industry (MOI) Provincial Offices (Dept. of Ind. Works) as per applicable "Zone”, "Park”, "Greenfield” rules if not "IEAT”
  • (3) copies of application submitted

Supporting documentation required;

  • (3) copies of company registration certificate and affidavit (dated not over 6 months ago)
  • (3) copies of house registration and ID card or passport of authorized directors
  • (3) copies of shareholders list (dated not over 6 months)
  • (3) copies of house registration of factory
  • (3) copies of general information of company i.e. capital, staff and operation
  • (3) original documents relating to the production process i.e. list of raw materials, products and by products including production process and process flowchart

Note:
       (1) "Export Processing Zones” and "Customs Free Zones” require additional forms at each step. The same applies for Food & Pharmaceutical projects. Request such forms at the zone’s Customs Office or the Thai Food & Drug Administration as applicable
       (2) Certain Thailand Industrial "Parks” & "Zones” may have unique permit/license application procedures in place with the Ministry of Industry. It is recommended that one check with both the operator and the local MOI or Dept. of Industrial Work to confirm the needed forms and local permit procedures.

4.) Open Bank Account

All businesses are required to open bank account.  All the following banks are suggested;

(1) BANGKOK BANK  PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.bangkokbank.com

(2) BANK OF AYUDHYA PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.krungsri.com

(3) CIMB THAI BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.cimbthai.com

(4) INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL BANK OF CHINA (THAI) PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.icbcthai.com

(5) KASIKORNBANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.kasikornbank.com

(6) KIATNAKIN PHATRA BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.kkpfg.com

(7) KRUNG THAI BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.ktb.co.th

(8) LAND AND HOUSES BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.lhbank.co.th

(9) SIAM COMMERCIAL BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.scb.co.th

(10) STANDARD CHARTERED BANK (THAI) PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.sc.com/th/

(11) TISCO BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.tisco.co.th

(12) TMBTHANACHART BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.ttbbank.com

(13) UNITED OVERSEAS BANK (THAI) PUBLIC COMPANY LTD. www.uob.co.th

5. Overall Costs of Doing Business




*Note: All the information and numbers are the approximated information as of May, 2022

** Sources :
Ministry of Labour :  www.mol.go.th
Immigration Bureau :  www.immigration.go.th

Ratchada Law Co., Ltd. :  www.ratchadalawfirm.com

Department of Business Development :  www.dbd.go.th

CBRE (Thailand) Co., Ltd. :  www.cbre.com

*** Note:  
- The costs are average square metre costs only and not based on any specific drawing/designs. The costs are to be used as a rough guide to the probable cost of a building. Budget costs outside the above may be encountered when searching other avenues.

- The cost exclude site clearing, formation and external works, financial and legal expenses, consultants’ fees and land costs.

- The cost includes Transformer, Main DB and Sub DB for general factory & office electrics only, but excludes production equipment/machinery power.

- The cost includes communal air conditioning, general electrics, and sanitary.